Although the initiative to create a new play environment came from the teachers, from the beginning possibilities were sought to include everyone who is involved in the school in one way or another in the project.
Our playground serves as a play and learning environment for all the children of the school. They are therefore the main participants in the process. In addition, the teachers also have an important voice in this story. The parents are also entitled to a say in the creation of the playground and the school’s maintenance staff was also involved.
This story started in the spring of 2016. The core Team Playground group (teacher working group) prepared a survey in which parents, teachers, students and sympathizers were questioned. In it, they could indicate what was already fun on the playground, what they thought was lacking, and what definitely should or should not be there. A total of 260 participants completed the survey. The students of the school filled it out en masse.
You can find the results and survey here.
- Teachers and maintenance staff
Two teachers went along on the MOS tour of the province of West Flanders. Four schools that have already undergone a renewal process were visited and inspiration was drawn from them. At staff meetings there was enthusiastic talk about green and nature playgrounds. This is how colleagues were persuaded to go along with the story. At that point the core group could get to work. This group of teachers managed the participation process and provided the momentum and progress. They ensured that the various parties were able to give their input. Input was also sought from the teachers. They filled out the survey and attended the reflection day.
The team is now specializing at home and abroad. Courses on outdoorteaching and sustainability are being taken and the school is a pilot school for the VALIES project that combines ZILL and sustainable development.
Under the heading “a dream of a playground,” all students in the school were challenged to think about what their dream playground could look like. Students were allowed to draw, design and write about what their ideal play space would be. Rollercoasters, swimming pools and beautiful tree houses were all considered. Over 150 drawings were received and at the school festival they were all put on display. The school festival that took place in early June 2016 was also the starting signal to involve parents in the project.
In addition to these actions, a Team Playground “Junior” was also started. It included students from the 4th, 5th and 6th grade. They helped to organize the ‘dream-of-a-playground-exhibition’, to conduct the survey and to enthuse parents about the project. This working group was essential in this process. The students were the spokespersons for the classes and also provided feedback to their class.
- Parents, grandparents and supporters
In addition to informal contacts with parents, they were also asked to complete the online survey. As described earlier, their wishes and concerns were probed here.
Everyone at the school was invited to come to the playground reflection day on Saturday, September 10, 2016. Throughout the day, 35 participants attended to work with Child and Society’s Picto-Play methodology.
Meanwhile, a core group of about 15 parents and teachers were united in Speel Groen vzw. They organized various activities for the benefit of the project. In March 2018 the Speelgroenquiz took place and on March 15, 2019 a party will be organized for the benefit of the project. They were the carriers of the project and absolutely indispensable!
- The blog site Klimaatspeelplaats.com
From the very beginning of the project, we involved a lot of people. As you could read earlier, we opted for a broad participatory process. To make our communication as open as possible, we chose to illustrate our progress through a blog site. On it, we publish articles that help justify our project, such as from Class. But we also give updates on our realizations such as the development of our play vision, the think day and the processing of our survey.